Review By Althouse,American Record Guide,December 2006
In his lifetime Loewe achieved his greatest fame with his songs and ballads-a situation unchanged today. He did, however, also venture into opera and oratorio, as well as instrumental pieces. This oratorio, more accurately known as Das S�hnopfer des Neuen Bundes (The Expiatory Sacrifice of the New Covenant), dates probably from 1847. The strongest suggestion is of Mendelssohn, whose Elijah and Paulus are roughly in this language. Loewe, though, did know the Bach passions, as he conducted the St Matthew in 1831 (only two years after Mendelssohn) and the St John in 1841. This oratorio mixes arias, recitatives, choruses and chorales, set to texts drawn from all four Gospels. All of the piece reveals Loewe's thorough craft and sure dramatic instincts, e.g. in the scene in the garden
Nonetheless, as we would expect from conductor Reinemann, the performance is a good one. The soloists, most of whom have studied with Reinemann, all do well; the choral parts may not be very demanding, but they are effective, particularly in dramatic sections. This is a fine representative of the 19th Century German oratorio, and it is very well played and sung. Most listeners, though, will find it too devotional in spirit and lacking the lyrical qualities of Mendelssohn. For the adventuresome, though, it's a reminder that there are always new pieces around the corner.